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Best chiminea 2021: Our pick of the best clay, steel and cast-iron outdoor fireplaces whatever your budget or garden size

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Get the most out of your garden all year round with our pick of the best clay, steel and cast-iron chimineas

You can never predict British weather with much certainty, so it’s essential to seize every opportunity to get out into your garden. With cooler autumnal evenings upon us, now’s a great time to invest in a chiminea – a little outdoor fireplace – so you can make the most of your garden long after the sun’s gone down.

Thanks to their growing popularity, you’ll find chimineas of all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a tiny patio or a huge garden, there’s a chiminea that will look right at home. And whether you just want one to huddle around in the evening cool or fancy dabbling with some outdoor cooking, there are plenty of options that will tick all the right boxes.

If you’re not sure what to look out for, read on and our buying guide will walk you through everything you need to know before buying a chiminea.

READ NEXT: The best fire pits to buy

The best chimineas to buy in 2021

1. La Hacienda Contemporary Steel Chiminea: Best modern chiminea

Price: £90 | Buy now from Argos

Attractive, well designed and affordably priced, La Hacienda’s Contemporary Steel Chiminea is a fantastic way to add a dash of style and warmth to your outdoor space. Constructed entirely from steel, it’s easy to assemble and sturdy, but at 6kg it’s still manoeuvrable.

The chiminea’s design allows it to project out plenty of heat, while its chimney helps direct smoke up and away from those sitting around it. Its minimalist build makes it easy to clean and maintain, and a raised shelf below makes for convenient wood storage.

Made from steel, the chiminea will stand up to the elements, but we’d recommend picking up a cover to keep the rain out while it’s not in use.

Specs Dimensions: 44 x 59 x 118cm; Material: Steel; Weight: 6kg; Fuel type: Wood; Cover included: No; Comes pre-assembled: No; BBQ grill: No

Buy now from Argos


2. Gardeco Toledo Chiminea: Best cast iron chiminea

Price: £224 | Buy now from Wayfair

If you’re looking for a solid all-around cast iron chiminea, Gardeco’s Toledo is an excellent choice. First, the Toledo features a 100% cast-iron construction, enabling it to radiate more heat than a comparably sized steel or clay chiminea and also allowing it to burn charcoal in addition to firewood.

Second, it can double up as a grill – albeit a small one – so if there’s one or two of you out in the garden, you can cook up some tasty fire-side snacks. Hinged doors make it easy to open and close, and there’s an air vent at the top to control heat.

The Toledo is available in a choice of black or bronze finishes, and there’s also a larger 129cm Toledo model available. It comes pre-coated to help protect from the elements, but it’s always worth applying additional coats of sealant to extend the life of the chiminea as long as possible.

Assembly is relatively quick, but be warned – it’s quite heavy once put together, so you may want to carry it outside in pieces beforehand.

Key specs – Dimensions: 115 x 42 x 42cm; Material: Cast iron; Weight: 26kg; Fuel type: Wood, charcoal; Cover included: No; Comes pre-assembled: No; BBQ grill: Yes

Buy now from Wayfair


3. La Hacienda Leon Medium Mesh Steel Chiminea: Best budget chiminea

Price: £50 | Buy now from Amazon

With its mid-size build, manageable weight and very reasonable price, La Hacienda’s Leon Medium Chiminea is perfect for those looking for their first chiminea – or simply shopping on a budget. While it can’t quite stand toe-to-toe with some of our more premium recommendations it covers all the basics, with a steel construction, 360-degree fireguard and a rain lid in case the weather turns. The mesh guard allows for 360-degree views of the flame and good dissipation of heat for those sitting around. There’s also a tool included to allow you to safely open the grill while the metal is hot.

The chiminea doesn’t ship fully built and so some assembly is required, but it’s a pretty simple build and should come together without too much fuss.

Specs Dimensions: 38 x 38 x 90cm; Material: Steel; Weight: 6kg; Fuel type: Wood; Cover included: No; Comes pre-assembled: No; BBQ grill: No


4. Garden Leisure Blue and Red Clay Chiminea: Best small clay chiminea

Price: £90 | Buy now from Not on the High Street

If you’re shopping for that classic clay chiminea look, then this traditionally finished number from Garden Leisure is an excellent option. Made from natural clay with a hand-painted blue and red or cream finish this chiminea has loads of character. Assembly couldn’t be easier: simply place it atop its steel stand, and it comes with a rain lid too, for when the British weather inevitably turns.

At 69cm tall with stand it’s on the smaller end of the scale, allowing it to fit comfortably on cosy patios and balconies, but it won’t throw out as much heat as larger chimineas.

Prepped with some good lava stones or sand in the bottom this clay chiminea should provide years of reliable service. If you haven’t done so already, check out our buying guide for advice on how to prepare and look after your chiminea.

Specs Dimensions: 30 x 30 x 69cm; Material: Clay; Weight: 8.5kg; Fuel type: Wood; Cover included: No; Comes pre-assembled: Yes; BBQ grill: No

Buy now from Not on the High Street


5. La Hacienda Steel Squat: Best steel chiminea for small gardens

Price: £80 | Buy from Amazon

If space is at a premium, a compact chiminea means you can still enjoy the toasty atmosphere of a traditional outdoor fire. La Hacienda’s Squat Steel Chiminea’s classic figure looks the part – and it’s practical, too.

It features a steel bed sat atop a trio of cast iron legs and is finished with a pewter-effect patina. The chiminea is quick to assemble, easy to manoeuvre and a breeze to get started. It’s one of the smallest chimineas in our roundup and so doesn’t throw out vast quantities of heat but will work well for smaller gardens, patios and terraces.

As with all chimineas, the exterior gets extremely hot, so you’ll need to take care when opening the door. Handily, this chiminea comes with a safety tool to help you do this. It comes with a rain lid, but we’d recommend getting a dedicated rain cover or storing it in a shed or garage while not in use – fortunately, it’s pretty lightweight and is therefore quite easy to move.

Specs – Dimensions: 36 x 36 x 72cm; Material: Steel; Weight: 8kg; Fuel type: Wood; Cover included: Yes; Comes pre-assembled: No; BBQ grill: No


6. Blumfeldt Westeros Steel Chiminea: A smart-looking contemporary chiminea

Price: £238 | Buy now from Wayfair

Thanks to its modern, minimalist design and steel structure, the Blumfeldt Westeros packs both style and substance. It’s a great choice for those who enjoy the ambience of a traditional wood-burning fire but want a more contemporary aesthetic.

Along with looking great, this chiminea is practical, too, featuring a built-in wood store to keep your firewood out of the way while always within easy reach. You’ll need to assemble it yourself at home, but it's very straightforward and since it’s steel, it’s far lighter than cast-iron alternatives.

Specs Dimensions: 134 x 45 x 45cm; Material: Steel; Weight: 10kg; Fuel type: Wood; Cover included: No; Comes pre-assembled: No; BBQ grill: No

Buy now from Not on the High Street


7. Hensita Rustic Outdoor Fireplace Chiminea: Best chiminea for large gatherings

Price: £285 | Buy now from Amazon

This Rustic Outdoor Fireplace from Hensita is ideal for larger gardens and entertaining alfresco. This impressive chiminea can keep a whole group toasty on cooler evenings and can even double as a BBQ if you’re feeling peckish.

With a large firepit and 360-degree mesh body, this chiminea is able to throw out plenty of heat, making it ideal for large gatherings. There’s also a cast iron grate for cooking. The grate swivels out for easier access and offers up enough space for a decent-sized BBQ.

The chiminea doesn’t ship with a cover as standard, but we would suggest picking one up to protect it from the elements while not in use.

Specs Dimensions: 75 x 75 x 125cm; Material: Steel and cast iron; Weight: 37kg; Fuel type: Wood; Cover included: No; Comes pre-assembled: No; BBQ grill: Yes


How to choose the best chiminea for you

What type of chiminea should I buy?

Depending on the material it’s made from, each chiminea has its own quirks. The three main types are made from clay, cast iron or stainless steel, and each requires maintenance to perform at their best – particularly if you want them to last more than one summer.

Clay chimineas: These are the oldest style of free-standing outdoor fireplace you’ll find available to buy today. They’re popular due to their olde-worlde style but they’re also the hardest to look after, as they must be protected from harsh winter weather and cannot be used if damp.

Because clay is prone to cracking and breaking, clay chimineas require quite a bit of maintenance. This includes the application of heat-resistant sealant approximately once a month, as well as seasoning before use and periodically throughout their lifetime to prevent shattering.

Clay chimineas can only be used with wood, as charcoal makes the material burn too hot, leading to shattering.

Instructions on how to care for clay chimineas can vary, so you’ll need to take individual care instructions into consideration if you decide clay is for you. They are relatively high maintenance items, but if you want something truly authentic, they’re worth the time and effort.

Cast-iron chimineas: If a robust and long-lasting chiminea is your top priority, then consider one made from cast iron. Cast iron doesn’t require the same level of maintenance as clay, allows you to burn wood, charcoal and coal, and can be heated to very high temperatures without the risk of cracking. This also means they burn hotter for longer, which can be an advantage.

They also don’t need to be stored during winter and can be used when wet, although it’s still worth buying a cover for a cast-iron chiminea. Like their clay counterparts, they need to be periodically resealed but not nearly as often.

One downside is that cast-iron chimineas can be very heavy, so you won’t want to move them around too often – if at all.

Stainless steel chimineas: Cheap and cheerful stainless steel chimineas are a great option if you’re new to outdoor heating. They’re both lighter in weight and on your wallet, so stainless steel allows you to indulge your chiminea desires without spending a fortune.

They’re also a good option for anyone living in rented or short-term accommodation, as they’re easily movable from home to home. Better still, stainless steel versions can be used with all solid fuel types.

The inexpensiveness of stainless steel chimineas comes at a cost, though. They won't last as long as clay or cast iron ones and are prone to damage from the elements. Their portability means they’re easier to move, but even if you keep them away from harsh environments, the cheaper material means a shorter life.

How can I protect my chiminea from the elements?

If you’re buying a cast-iron, steel or clay chiminea, you’ll need to “cure” it to prevent rust and hairline cracks that can shorten the life of a chiminea over time.

With the clay variety, place a pumice stone, sand or lava rocks in the bottom of the chiminea and start by lighting a small fire using only paper. Let this cool completely before building another small fire. Continue to do this for a week, with each fire gradually getting larger.

For cast-iron and steel varieties, you’ll need to fix the grate inside and light small fires with kindling. Shortly after this has burned out, you’ll need to light a slightly larger fire, then allow this to cool completely.

Follow these steps daily for approximately seven days to ensure your chiminea is well protected from cracks and rust.

What type of outdoor flooring do I need for a chiminea?

As chimineas burn so hot, you’ll want to protect your outdoor flooring as much as possible. It’s best to buy a chiminea base for your new wood burner but you can also use rocks, bricks or concrete slabs. Just be sure that your chiminea is sitting on a flat surface away from overhanging branches or any other flammable materials.

How much do I need to spend?

You’ll find cheaper chimineas under the £100 mark online and in garden centres, but they will rust or break far more quickly than more expensive versions. If you’re new to chimineas and want to try one out without spending too much, however, a cheaper chiminea is a great option.

Of course, a more expensive chiminea doesn’t always mean a longer shelf life. Without proper care and maintenance, even the most expensive heaters can crack and rust after just a few uses. With the right care, you’ll be able to get the longest life possible out of your chiminea, no matter what you spend.

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